Twitter gave a gold checkmark to a troll account impersonating a defunct Disney TV channel for kids, which then posted a racial slur
- A fake Disney account was given a verified gold checkmark before it was suspended on Monday.
- While blue checkmarks only cost $8 a month, the gold is $1,000 and reserved for organizations.
Twitter appeared to give a gold checkmark to a random account pretending to be an official Disney account, before suspending it after a tweet from the account went viral.
While Elon Musk's Twitter Blue feature has already seen large numbers of trolls impersonating celebrities and businesses a month, this appears to be the first time the gold checkmark has been misappropriated.
Gold checkmarks form part of Twitter's Verified Organizations feature, which costs upwards of $1,000 a month and is only available for businesses, non-profits, and government institutions.
The account, under the handle "DisneyJuniorUK" only had about 4,700 followers at the time of suspension, but one tweet from it expressing surprise at being given the checkmark had been seen over 1.3 million times.
While live, the account's pinned tweet included a racial epithet. It also joked that Disney Junior would start airing "South Park," the famously provocative cartoon from Comedy Central.
The account's apparent owner said they didn't even pay for the feature, and that it "just appeared out of nowhere."
The troll also suggested they'd already had the gold checkmark for two days before gaining attention with Monday's viral tweet.
Screenshots from the Internet Archive show it had the gold checkmark by 10:38 p.m. ET on Sunday. The account was suspended around 6:30 a.m. the following day.
After Twitter removed verified checkmarks from everybody who wasn't subscribed to Twitter Blue last week, a backlash saw some campaign to "Block The Blue."
Then several celebrities began noticing that their checkmarks were reappearing, in an apparent effort at trolling from Musk himself.
Blue checks were also given posthumously to celebrities including Anthony Bourdain and Kobe Bryant. Their accounts say they subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone numbers, despite the service coming into existence after their deaths. Bourdain died in 2018, while Bryant died in 2020.
Insider contacted Twitter for comment. The company responded with an automated message that didn't address the inquiry.
The Disney troll account also managed to get the $1,000-a-month gold checkmark despite the real Disney already being signed up to the feature, with dozens of affiliate accounts, which each incur a further $50 a month.
Twitter's advertising for Verified Organizations says it includes an "Impersonation defense" feature, which says that impersonators are "flagged for further review" if detected. It also includes exclusive access to Twitter's "premium support."
Insider understands that Disney became aware of the fake account on Monday morning, and immediately reached out to staff at Twitter.
The handle used by the trolls was previously used by an official Disney account until October 2020, when the TV channel by the same name was closed down. It then appeared to be claimed by the troll in June 2021.
Disney declined to comment when contacted by Insider.
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